Hearty Stuffed Cavolo Nero, with Curly Kale, Turkey, and Ricotta

By • January 26, 2014 0 Comments

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Author Notes: Essentially, this recipe is kale, turkey, and ricotta meatballs, wrapped in leaves of Cavolo Nero, and baked in a tomato broth with a layer of Pecorino and thyme on top. It's hearty, healthy, and a double-punch of two types of kale. KerryFrenchRev

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Serves 4

  • 7 ounces Cavolo Nero leaves
  • 7 ounces curly kale leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, whole wheat or white
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or low-sodium chick broth, divided
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for baking
  • 1/4 whole nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
  • 10 twists black pepper on the pepper mill
  • 1 cup good tomato sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven. Bring a big pot of water to boil. Fill a big bowl with ice and water.
  2. Blanch the Cavolo Nero leaves in the boiling water for 1 minute, then shock in the ice water. Repeat with the curly kale. Set the Cavolo Nero leaves aside to dry on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Squeeze all the excess water out of the curly kale and transfer to the food process. Add the garlic to the curly kale and whiz until very finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. To the curly kale and garlic, add the onion, turkey, breadcrumbs, ricotta, 1/4 cup Pecorino, 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth, olive oil, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Using clean hands, gently tossed until just combined. You are essentially making turkey, ricotta, and kale meatballs with which to stuff the Cavolo Nero leaves, so keep the mixture only lightly mixed to ensure it stays tender.
  4. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with olive oil, and spread one small ladle of tomato sauce on the bottom. Cut out the toughest end of the stem out of each Cavolo Nero leaf. Then, as though you were making a burrito, or stuffed cabbage, add about 1/4 cup of the turkey filling in an oblong shape down the center of each leaf, leaving enough leaf around the edge to wrap the filling in. Place each stuffed leaf seam-side-down in the baking dish. Repeat until all leaves are filled. If you have any filling left, you can roll it into little meatballs and either bake them along with the Cavolo Nero packages, or bake them on a rimmed baking sheet at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. If you have any Cavolo Nero leaves left, slice them and scatter them over the kale parcels.
  5. Top the stuffed leaves with the remainder of the tomato sauce and 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth. Top with extra stems of thyme (optional), the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino, and a light drizzle of olive oil. Cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover the baking dish, and broil just until the corners of the Cavolo Nero leaves char and the Pecorino turns slightly golden. Serve immediately.

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